According to a quick search with Google Keywords Tool, the words “review” and “reviews” are some of the most searched words online.
No surprise there, right?
Naturally, we want to make sure we have at least some idea whether what we are looking to buy is worth our buck before we cough it up.
Last year, I wrote a post about some of the not-so-great internet marketing products I tried in the previous year.
Turned out to be a hit.
This year, I decided to ask for input from my email subscribers (join them here) as to which internet marketing tools were hot and which ones were not in 2011.
One head is good, but a few thousand heads are much better.
Here’s the feedback I got.
Note: please keep in mind that I haven’t personally tested some of the tools below and these are solely opinions of Traffic Generation Cafe readers.
However, the tools that I do know and like are listed with my affiliate link – thanks for your support!
Internet Marketing Tools – NOT so Hot
This is probably the absolute worst product I’ve ever tried.
Of course I am always skeptical when it comes to services like this, which is why I tend to proceed with caution. (meaning I don’t use any important websites when testing)
What this service does is spams comments to the same network of blogs over and over. Some of the blog comments are like 5000 mega-mega spammy comments!
I had high hopes for this one and it does aim to aid in some things that all Internet marketers need.
The system basically automates task such as:
- bookmarking URL for blog posts
- Getting Facebook Likes
- Getting blog comments
- Article syndication
- Social News site votes i.e. Digg.com
Here is how it works.
You install their software called a “remote automater” and it automatically creates accounts at bookmarking sites, social news sites, twitter etc etc.
Once this is done, the remote automater performs tasks in the background for other members.
So basically they are using your IP to perform tasks like bookmarking, retweets etc. – this way it’s supposed to make things look natural with everything coming from random IPs.
In return you are given a certain number of credits per day.
At first, it sounds like a fair trade, but the free version is way too limited to be useful, so I signed up for their $97 a month plan and quickly ran out of credits and so upgraded to their $147 a month plan and then ran out of credits again and had to buy more credits.
So in other words, if it were to be useful, you are going to definitely be spending some money each month.
The other main problem all of the social accounts are all clearly puppet accounts.
Example: when you take a look at the retweets or diggs, most of the accounts don’t have avatars and, upon visual inspection by any intelligent human being, it’s easy to see that the retweets, votes, etc etc are all spammy puppet accounts.
In short it’s just too automated. Not a good thing.
by David Wakeman
I started using a free service called “linkdip” a couple of weeks ago.
The concept is to hook up with other linkdip users and retweet, Google+, like, dipp or linkedin other people’s posts to get your information broadcasted out to more people.
The idea sounded good and so I decided to give it a try with an account I was just kind of playing with.
Over the last 2 weeks that account got suspended twice.
The first time, I was able to get Twitter to reinstate it. This time, Twitter is not responding.
I have decided to just let that account die.
The funny thing is that the tweets that I sent out were being sent on another account and that account is still active.
The suspension came when I retweeted through linkdip.
I can’t say for sure that it was linkdip, but that is the only difference between my 2 accounts. I would say stay away.
4. Conductor.com & BrightEdge.com
I think bashing tools and giving providers a hard time is evil.
So I will list some tools and services that we consider the least small-medium business friendly: Conductor and Bright Edge.
Neither of these two providers will even bother to send you a product demo, if you are a small business guy.
Best to ignore the two completely as all requests for partnership will deem fruitless, unless you indicate a million dollar budget, that is.
5. SEOMoz & Majestic SEO
Another products to scrutinize from the cost-vs-benefit standpoint is SEOMoz.
I know I know, it is a sin to speak against Rand-the-SEO superman, but our honest and humble opinion is this:
1. He is doing a terrific marketing job (honestly wish we were that good – or better said – had this kind of venture money to play with)
2. in terms of features and functionality, his products are not worth as much as he asks for them – but again, great marketing job.
Another great, great product, yet not cost-effective is Majestic SEO – fantastic product, lots of backlinks, at an abominable price.
Probably the best enterprise backlink solution ever made, but so very pricey.
Note from Ana: I just did a review of Majestic SEO explaining how you can make the most of it for free.
6. Fast Cash Commissions
I personally tried Fast Cash Commissions and recommend staying away from it.
It has some value for a brand new person, but the creators have no problem with exaggerating things.
This is the biggest problem I had with them.
They also try to sell you something new everyday and call it training.
7. Google in 60 Seconds
The system does work effectively to the extent that you really can get to the front page of Google in about 60 seconds.
The problem is that you drop off again in an other 60 seconds.
Sure, you can just repeat 24 times a day, and you will stay on the page.
But Google’s algorithms are not that stupid, that they can not easily find you, and poof, – you’re gone forever!
This is one of the tools that I personally tried and (still) need to request a refund for.
Pippity is a pop-up plugin that looked really good on “paper”.
What sold me on it was the fact that one of the settings allowed me to set it to pop up AFTER the reader finished reading a post; perfect timing in other words.
Yes, it did pop up like it was supposed to.
The problem was that many of my readers weren’t able to exit it at all. The “X” was too high up and hiding under the browser window and there was no other way to get rid of it.
Easy fix, IF their customer service ever bother to respond to me.
Additionally, you can’t really customized their templates to match your site that well and it looks a bit out of place.
SocialAdr is a paid social bookmarking service that is supposed to get your post distributed to various social media networks via “thousands of different real human social media accounts.”
I submitted one post to them to see how well it works.
In about 2 weeks I gave it, my post was bookmarked at the rate of about once in 2-3 days.
Thumbs down from me.
10. Digi Auto Links
by John Wagner
I tried it for about a month and my site was shutdown 3 times for too much load on the site.
I installed cache, minified, and optimized and still was suspended.
I uninstalled the plugin and complained to the authors help line. I was told it was my hosts fault and that I should change hosts.
After uninstalling the plugin I have not had any problems.
Note from Ana: I actually emailed my subscribers’ list (join it here to receive my exclusive updates) about staying clear of this plugin.
All it does is spams other blogs with fake pingbacks leading back to your blog.
Result? You might get a few backlinks here and there, but more likely will be quickly labeled as a spammer.
Also, make sure you defend your blog from these fake pingbacks – never ever approve them.
If you have CommentLuv Premium installed, go under GASP settings and enabled blocking Digi Auto Links – this is your best defense.
Internet Marketing Tools – Thumbs Up
On behalf of Link-Assistant.Com, we nominate SEMRush as a great IM solution for small and medium online ventures.
Extensive free version, reasonably priced paid versions with awesome customer support.
We truly love those guys.
Note from Ana: and so do I – take a look at what I have to say about SEMRush.
2. SEO PowerSuite
by Lonny Brooks
I use SEO PowerSuite on my indies sites to not only help them, but to also spy on my competition.
3. Internet Business Mastery Coaching Lab 101
by Ryan Oakley
Jay and Sterling are straight shooters and have created an awesome coaching program that revolves around their tried and true IBM Academy training.
In less than 2 months, I was able to create a wonderful authority, passion-based internet business and make my first affiliate sales.
My own ebook and products are in the works.
I just follow the IBM steps and ask Jay and Sterling for help and it’s working like a charm.
They also have an awesome blog that I highly recommend you check out.
4. Free Traffic System
Version 1 was kind of a “spin and syndicate to a bunch of low quality blogs” model, which doesn’t work well these days.
But V2 allows you to submit a “good quality” article to a blog with some authority and each post does have to be approved by the blog owner.
Also this is not a link farm. All the blogs are owned by individuals like you and me. Not one owner in other words.
The links are contextual, not byline links.
Also you can choose the blog according to traffic and page rank.
I use them for publishing original content on blogs to get backlinks.
Sometimes I submit by hand snd sometimes I utilize their PR posts service where basically I tell them the pagerank I want along with keywords and anchor text and they write the content and submit etc.
So that’s kind of like a turn key solution that doesn’t take much time and it’s fairly reasonably priced too.
5. WordPress SEO by Yoast
Stable release of WP SEO by Yoast – it is really fantastic for the average Joe…FANTASTIC!
It is very very simple, matter-of-fact and clear for someone who CAN’T spend all their time on SEO.
I absolutely must mention Rafflecopter.
Rafflecopter is the ONE thing that has made every blogger who runs ANY kind of contest better this year.
Greg from Rafflecopter knows how to provide the BEST service and keep it simple.
I will say one that I recently started with and is well worth it is BuildMyRank.
I’ve seen a boost in my rankings for hard-to-rank keywords and I’ve just been kinda blown away, actually.
I’d be curious to see if you tested it, what it does for you.
Note from Ana: yes, BuildMyRank is a reputable blog network that allows you to publish unique article with a link per 150 words to their diverse and good quality blog network.
If you’d like to check it out, I appreciate you going through my affiliate link.
I just started using Senuke and after getting through the learning curve, I found it automates A LOT of the things I did manually and I think using its “drip” feature is important to make your campaigns look natural.
Note from Ana: I’ve never personally used SENuke, but from what I know of it, I think it’s better used for second-tier links (links that don’t directly connect with your money site).
Also, if you want to give it a shot, I wouldn’t spend the money; I’d hire someone on Fiverr to use their software to do a link blast.
9. CurationSoft & CommentLuv Premium
by James Pruitt
Have to say for 2011, CurationSoft has been awesome for generating more content and doing quick research to find relevant news within my niches faster than ever before.
Since they added the RSS feed and import (for Google Reader fans, makes moving your entire list of blogs to follow a breeze), I can even curate content from the blogs I regularly guest post on and read daily faster than ever before.
Also, for comments and engagement, CommentLuv Premium has really knocked it out of the park.
10. Four Great Tools
11. Niche Spider
I gave Niche Spider a try and it was great!
Really speeds up keyword research and gives great ideas that I wouldn’t have normally thought of.
Downside is it has a monthly fee and in the end I let it go due to building out current sites and not using it as much.
I intend to re-subscribe once my business is big enough to absorb the cost
12. Market Samurai
by Scott Lewis
Market Samurai is amazing!
Note from Ana: there you have it – short and sweet.
Even with all the recent changes, Market Samurai is still my primary SEO tool I use almost on a daily basis.
Oh, yes, Scott also said:
Your blog is one of the best!
13. Thesis Theme
by Ian Belanger (suggestion from comments)
Great list! I definitely see some products that I would like to try.
In my opinion though, you missed one of the best tools on the web, Thesis Theme.
I know it’s not really a tool, but if you are looking for a higher alexa rank and better SEO, then Thesis cannot be beat.
Any blog that I have Thesis on, always out ranks blogs without it. And with a little work, your rankings will keep moving in the right direction.
I don’t just use thesis for blogs either, any website can benefit from it’s SEO power.
Note from Ana: Ian is right – Thesis rocks.
Check out my full Thesis review here.
I know I see a couple of tools on that list that I wouldn’t mind taking for a spin.
What about you?